May 26, 2016

North Carolina Vehicle Identification Number
Vehicle Titles and Motor Vehicle History Searches in North Carolina

The state of North Carolina through the Official Department of Motor Vehicle Website has a section of Records & Reports. This section offers Driving Records, Crash Records, and Vehicle Records. These records are subject to the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act which states that personal information in the Division of Motor Vehicle records be closed to the public; however, they may be released to individuals or organizations who qualify. The official state website of the North Carolina offers free VIN checks. There are several ways to obtain a VIN number report in North Carolina, including online or through the state Division of Motor Vehicles (NCDMV). Public Users are subjected to the same restrictions that are used under both the Federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act and the North Carolina Driver Privacy Protection Act. This requires the individual who is searching the records to have a valid, legal reason to perform a vehicle history search.

If you are one of those entities, you can fill out (Form MVR-605A) and mail it to:

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicle RTP UNIT

3148 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27697-3148

Vehicle Information costs $1.00

For Certified copies mail form MVR-605A to:

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, Room 100

3157 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27697-3157

Certified Copies cost $14.00

On this same page you can search for Driving Records and Crash Reports, but this information is private and access to it is strictly prohibited and only available to the persons involved or to law enforcement agencies.

North Carolina VIN Check Up

Depending on the type of vehicle or where you purchased or got the vehicle, the titling requirements can be very different in North Carolina. Here is a quick overview:

  • For a vehicle that was purchased from an individual or donated or gifted to you:
    • Vehicle Title;
    • Lien Release – necessary if liens are shown on the title of the vehicle;
    • Title Application (MVR-1);
    • Odometer Disclosure Statement (MVR-180);
    • Damage Disclosure Statement (MCR-181):
    • Declaration of Eligible Risk (MVR- 615);
    • Highway-Use Tax Exemption Certificate (MVR-613) – if being transferred between certain family members.
  • A vehicle purchased from a dealer:
    • Bill of Sale
    • Title Application (MVR-1);
    • Odometer Disclosure Statement (MVR-180);
    • Damage Disclosure Statement (MVR-181);
    • Declaration of Eligible Risk (MVR-615).
  • Vehicle titled in registered owner’s name (vehicle is being titled in the registered owner’s name and the owner has the title:
    • Vehicle Title;
    • Odometer Reading;
    • Title Application (MVR-1); and
    • Declaration of Eligible Risk (MVR-615);
  • Out-of-state vehicles with a lien – title is held by a recorded lienholder:
    • Vehicle Title;
    • Current Out-of-State Registration Card;
    • Odometer Reading;
    • Title Application (MVR-1); and
    • Declaration of Eligible Risk (MVR-615).
  • Mobile Homes:
    • Vehicle Title;
    • Title Application (MVR-1);
    • Cancellation of Mobile Home Titles (MVR-46G) – required if mobile home title is being
    • recorded as real estate.

Special Cases:

  • Bonded Vehicles – if an individual does not have proof that they own a vehicle they can title it using an indemnity bond (a security bond written by an insurance company – or a cash bond;
  • Abandoned Vehicles – several options are available to an individual when a vehicle has been abandoned on their property:
    • Local Law enforcement will verify that the vehicle is not stolen and place a seven-day warning sticker on the car saying that it will be towed if it is not removed;
    • After seven days, the property owner may contact a tow company to remove the vehicle;
    • If the vehicle remains on the property unclaimed for thirty (30) days, it is considered abandoned and the property owner may begin the process to sell the vehicle.

For additional information about motor vehicles, call the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles’ License & Theft Bureau at (919) 861-3141.

  • Reconstructed Vehicle – a motor vehicle required to be registered that has been materially altered from original construction due to the removal, addition or substitution of essential parts (including glider kits and custom assembled vehicles;)
  • Flood Vehicle – A motor vehicle that has been submerged or partially submerged in water to the extent that damage to the body, engine, transmission or differential has occurred;
  • Salvage rebuilt vehicle – A salvage vehicle that has been rebuilt for title and registration; and
  • Junk vehicle – A motor vehicle which is incapable or operation or use upon the highways and has no resale value except as a source or parts or scrap. This vehicle shall not be titled or registered.

If you think that a vehicle has been stolen or has an incorrect license, you should contact the License and Theft Bureau at:

License & Theft Bureau

3132 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27697-3132

Other Documents and Forms from the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles that you may find useful when titling vehicles:

Affidavit for Removal of Vehicle from Files (MVR-46F):

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles

Application for Duplicate Title (MVR-4)

Application for Removal of Lien from Certificate of Title (MVR-8)

Certificate of Repossession (MVR-3)

Claim of Sales or Use Tax Payment Under Protest (MVR-609)

Indemnity Bond (MVR-92D)

Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship Affidavit (MVR-620)

Lien Recording Application (MVR-6)

Power of Attorney (MVR-63)

Proof of Military/Dependent or Principally Garaged Vehicle (MVR-614)

Requirements for Obtaining North Carolina Registration (MVR-106)

Indemnity Bond


Official North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles Website – Records and Reports

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Request for Motor Vehicle Information (FORM MVR-605A

Titling Requirement in North Carolina

Title Application (MVR-1)

Odometer Disclosure Statement (MVR-180)

Damage Disclosure Statement (MVR-181)

Declaration of Eligible Risk (MVR-615)

Highway-Use Tax Exemption Certificate (MVR-613) for vehicles transferred between certain family members

Cancellation of Mobile Home Titles (MVR-46G) – required if mobile home title is being record as real estate:

Cancellation of Mobile Home Titles (MVR-46G)

Salvaged and Abandoned Vehicles

Email for the License & Theft Bureau

North Carolina Online Services & Resources


Should you run additional VIN Checks if you live in North Carolina?

Yes. Although the state has a free search, it only searches for vehicles which have been titled in the state of North Carolina. One of the best sources of information on vehicle history on the Internet is the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS.) The NMVTIS is a database of vehicles which have been held in junk yards, salvage yards, and auto recyclers. This list is then used to ensure that vehicles which have been branded as junk or salvage are not re-sold. The vehicles which are destroyed also have VIN number attached to them which are destroyed at the same time as the vehicle is destroyed. It is common for thieves to use VINs from destroyed vehicles because they know that the original vehicle with the VIN will not appear. The information that is reported to the NMVTIS is mandated and makes it much more difficult for thieves to steal VIN numbers.

Auto recyclers, junk yards, and salvage yards must report to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) the following information on each vehicle they receive each month:

  • The name, address, and contact information for the reporting entity;
  • The VIN;
  • The date the vehicle was obtained;
  • The name of the person or entity from whom the automobile was obtained (this information is for use by law enforcement and government agencies only);
  • A statement of whether the vehicle was crushed or disposed of, sold, or other purposes; and
  • Whether the vehicle is intended to be exported outside of the United States.

An NMVTIS Vehicle History Report is intended to provide information on five factors which are associated with auto fraud and theft. These indicators are:

  • Current state of title and last title date – this information can help you verify the validity of the title and helps to prevent both auto fraud and theft;
  • Brand History – these labels are tied to the Vehicle Identification Number and define cars into groups such as “junk,” “salvage,” and “flood.” These labels help inform consumers of the condition of the vehicle and let them know that the vehicle may not have been properly repaired and may not be able to be fully repaired. If a consumer decides to purchase a vehicle that has been branded then at least they know that the vehicle is probably worth far less than it would be had it not been branded;
  • Odometer reading – odometer fraud is quite common as it allows the seller of the vehicle to get more money for the car than they would if the true mileage were shown. It also means that a consumer may be purchasing a vehicle which is unsafe. By checking the title, which shows the mileage of a car every time it changes owners, and by having a car checked out by an independent mechanic before you purchase it, you may save yourself a lot of time and money;
  • Total Loss History – vehicles that have been declared a total loss have usually been severely damaged. If you know that a vehicle has been declared a total loss than you can avoid purchasing a car which will probably end up costing you quite a bit of money and may be unsafe;
  • Salvage History – vehicles that are branded as salvage vehicles are, like those with total loss, those that have had severe damage. Customers who choose to purchase cars that have been branded as “salvage” are potentially unsafe and could cost you a lot of money in repairs.

Another great source for information on cars is VINCheck, which is recommended by The National Insurance Crime Bureau. This site is particularly useful to check if a car has been reported stolen and not recovered. You don’t want to go to get your new title only to find out that you have purchased a stolen vehicle. The National Highway Transportation Safety Authority (NHTSA) has a website which allows you to input your VIN and search to see if there has been a recall issued on your vehicle.

There are other companies which run vehicle history checks and VIN checks that are easily found with a quick search on the Internet. Ideally you want one which will give you the most information possible for the least amount of money.


Lemon Laws in North Carolina

The North Carolina Lemon Law is also known as the New Motor Vehicles Warranties Act (N.C.G.S. 20-351. It applies to new passenger cars, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, and most vans purchased in North Carolina. The law requires manufacturers to repair defects that affect the use, value, or safety or a new motor vehicle within the first 24 months or 24,000 miles (whichever happens first.) A “lemon,” as defined by the Better Business Bureau, is a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value or safety of the motor vehicle to the consumer. This defect is also called nonconformity.

The North Carolina Lemon Law covers any new motor vehicle or new motorcycle, sold or leased in the state of North Carolina. The Lemon Law does NOT cover:

  • Used Vehicles;
  • Mopeds;
  • House Trailers;
  • Any motor vehicle that was:
    • Purchase or leased before October 1, 2005 that has a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds or more; or
    • Purchased or leased on or after October 1, 2000 that weighs more than 10,000 pounds.

In order for your car to be the considered a lemon, all of the following must apply:

  • The issue occurs in a part of the vehicle that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and you are within the warranty period.
  • You notify the manufacturer about the issue in writing and provide a reasonable period not more than 15 days to fix the issue;
  • The manufacturer has had four (4) attempts to repair the same issue or the vehicle has been out of service for a total of 20 business days or more over 12-months during the warrant period; and
  • The manufacturer’s efforts to fix the vehicle were not successful.

Under the lemon law in North Carolina, when the manufacturer is unable to fix the defect, you get to choose either:

  • A car of comparable value; or
  • A refund of the purchase price of the vehicle; however, there are some deductions:
    • Charges for undercoating, dealer-preparation and installed options, and the
    • non-refundable portions of extended warranties and service contracts;

    • Any up-front charges, such as sales tax, license and registration fees;
    • All finance charges incurred after your reported the problem to the manufacturer or authorized dealer; and
    • Incidental damages, less a “reasonable allowance” for your use of the vehicle, which is calculated by using the following formula:

Amount to be Refunded =


Purchase Price – (Number of miles driven by the consumer X Purchase Price)


One of the most important things that you can have is documentation to prove your car is a lemon, including:

  • Sale and/or lease documents;
  • Maintenance records, including receipts for supplies;
  • Repair statements;
  • Copies of any communication between yourself and the manufacturer or dealer; and
  • Any documentation you have which relates to the defect or flaw.

There are two provisions in the North Carolina Lemon Law for written notice from the consumer to the manufacturer:

  1. If the consumer wants to rely on the presumption of a reasonable number of repair attempts, the consumer must notify the manufacturer directly and in writing (certified mail with return receipt requested is suggested) of the existence of the nonconformity or a series of nonconformities, and must allow the manufacturer a reasonable period no longer than 15 days to correct the nonconformity or series of nonconformities. This 15 calendar day period begins upon the manufacturer’s receipt of the notice of the nonconformity.

    This notice requirement applies if the manufacturer clearly and conspicuously discloses to the consumer in the warranty or the owner’s manual that written notification of the nonconformity is required before a consumer may be eligible for a refund or a replacement. The manufacturer must also include either in the warranty or the owner’s manual the name and address where written notification may be sent.

    1. A consumer bringing a civil action against the manufacturer must give the manufacturer written notice of their intent to bring the action at least ten (10) days prior to filing the suit.

      Dispute Resolution or Arbitration –

      Many manufacturers have dispute resolution programs for customers with warranty problems and may require that the consumer first utilize the informal dispute settlement procedure before bringing an action under the lemon law if:

      1. The dispute resolution complies with 16 C.F.R. Part 703, and
      2. The manufacturer has clearly and conspicuously written this requirement into the written warranty and any warranty instructions provided to the consumer.

        Most consumers use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) AUTO LINE which accepts claims if they are filed within four (4) years from the date of the discovery of the alleged defect.

        The following manufacturers have a dispute resolution process which meets the standards for the Better Business Bureau arbitration program:

        • Audi, Bentley, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC Truck, Hyundai, Indian Motorcycle, Kia, Land Rover, Lincoln, Lotus, Mazda, Mercury, Nissan, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, smart USA, and Volkswagen.

          If you wish to file an Automobile Complaint form, you can file one with the North Carolina Department of Justice as well as filing one with the Better Business Bureau.

          Consumer Protection Division

          Attorney General’s Office

          Mail Service Center 9001

          Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

          • For a vehicle sales complaint you should submit copies of the bill of sale, credit contact, and any correspondence related to the problem;
          • For a used car warranty complaint you should submit copies of the warranty and describe and oral warranties or promises made about the condition of the car; and
          • For a car repair complaint you should submit copies of repair order or written estimates.

Department of Justice North Carolina Lemon Law

Better Business Bureau North Carolina Lemon Law Summary

North Carolina Department of Justice online Automobile Complaint Form:

File a Complaint

Do I need an attorney for a lemon law case in North Carolina?

No. The law was designed to protect consumers so it is relatively user-friendly for the average person; however, it is your legal right to have an attorney representing you and the manufacturer will have attorneys and experts on their side.

An attorney on your side also helps you:

  • Appearing more professional and more serious;
  • They have legal knowledge that you do not and may know of laws which you do not;
  • They can remind you which paperwork is necessary and what needs to be filed, mailed, or turned in on what day; and
  • Attorneys often help speed the process along.
How do I find an attorney?

Ask you friends and family if they know any attorneys who specialize in lemon law cases or ask an attorney to recommend a colleague who has experience with lemon law cases in North Carolina.

Don’t just hire the first attorney you meet. You want to ask some questions and get to know them, for example:

  • Have you worked on any lemon law cases in North Carolina previously?
  • What is your win/loss record on lemon law cases in North Carolina?
  • What is your fee?
  • Do you require a payment upfront or do you take cases on a contingency basis?

If you don’t know of any attorneys, you can always contact the North Carolina Bar Association at 1-800-662-7407.

North Carolina Bar Association

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
Carrboro Plaza
100 NC-54 #104-GG
1 919-929-4161

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Driver License
Hope Valley Shopping Center
3825 S Roxboro St #119
1 919-560-3378

Dmv Mobile Unit
100 E Lane St
1 919-715-7000

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
South Hills Mall & Plaza
1251 Buck Jones Rd
1 919-469-1444

North Carolina DMV
2210 Carthage St
1 919-776-1113

North Carolina Driver License Office
125 E Granville St
1 252-823-0242

N C Department of Motor Vehicles
115 Shopping Center
1 828-765-2926

NC DMV – Driver’s License
5296 Main St
1 910-754-5114

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
901 U.S. Hwy 321 #100
1 828-328-3783

Motor Vehicle Department
3144 US-401 BUS
1 910-875-2442

1387 SE Maynard Rd
1 919-468-0319

DMV Driver License Office
3231 Avent Ferry Rd
1 919-816-9128

North Carolina License Plate Agency
1801 E Ash St
1 919-734-0881

North Carolina Divison of Motor Vehicles
1100 New Bern Ave
1 919-715-7000

North Carolina DMV
12101 Mt Holly-Huntersville Rd
1 704-331-4500

North Carolina DMV Building
1164 US 17 South
1 252-331-4776

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
201 W Arrowood Rd
1 704-527-2562

N.C. License Plate Agency
Parkway Plaza
1141 Silas Creek Pkwy
1 336-725-2795

North Carolina License Plate Agency
4612 N Carolina 49
1 980-258-8078

North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
650 Francis St
1 336-884-1003

Drivers License
90 Tanglewood Dr
1 919-496-2590

Driver’s License Office
785 W Charlotte Ave
1 704-827-9486

Driver’s License Offices
2314 S Main St
1 336-248-5179

DMV Driver’s License
6016 Brookshire Blvd
1 704-392-3266

NC Drivers License Office
701 W Grantham St
1 919-731-7963

North Carolina License Plate Agency
1509 Dale Earnhardt Blvd
1 704-932-3146

License Tag Bureau
246 N New Hope Rd #239
1 704-864-4856

NC License Plate Agency
1047 Yadkinville Rd
1 336-753-6677

Drivers License Office
596 Withrow Rd
1 828-286-2973

Drivers License Office
309 Pine Mountain Rd
1 828-726-2504

North Carolina Dmv
905 Carolina Ave N
1 704-878-4220

Northgate Mall
1058 W Club Blvd #626
1 919-286-3714

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
6635 Executive Cir #130
1 704-531-5563

North Carolina DMV
299 Wilmington Hwy
1 910-347-3613

North Carolina DMV Drivers License Office
2754 US-220 BUS
1 336-629-1949

DMV – Driver License Office
831 Elm St
1 910-484-6249

Motor Vehicles-Driver License
3122 W Hwy 74
1 704-283-4264

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles – Drivers License Office
1914 E Dixon Blvd
1 704-480-5408

Drivers License Office
1450 N Aspen St
1 704-735-6923

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
2439 Gillespie St
1 910-486-1353

License Plate Agency
622 W Roosevelt Blvd
1 704-283-4113

NC Drivers License
1624 Patton Ave
1 828-251-6065

DMV Vehicle & License Plate Renewal of Zebulon
815 N Arendell Ave
1 919-269-0117

NC License Plate Agency
2533 Atlantic Ave #102
1 919-831-9996

Motor Vehicle Department
2390 Carolina Beach Rd # 4
1 910-251-5747
Open until 5:30 PM

North Carolina License Plate Agency
5410 NC-55 AB
1 919-544-3662

DMV North Carolina License Plate Agency
316 NC-210
1 910-497-3707

Drivers License Office
164 N Main St
1 828-649-2248

Motor Vehicle-Drivers License
125 Baystone Dr
1 828-692-6915

Drivers License Office
2617 N Wesleyan Blvd
1 252-442-8905

DMV – Smithfield
103 N 4th St
1 919-934-8707

North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles
1121 Sunset Ave
1 910-592-5265

License Plate Agency
1545 N Road St
1 252-338-6965

Motor Vehicle Department
2505 Neuse Blvd
1 252-637-4524

Motor Vehicle-Drivers License
290 Lee Rd
1 828-627-6969

Drivers License Division
3783 U.S. Hwy 301 S
1 919-934-3187

Drivers License Office
1033 Smyre Farm Rd
1 828-466-5516

Driver License Center
222 Forest Hills Dr
1 919-662-4366

Motor Vehicle Division
1822 Goldsboro St S
1 252-243-4072

Driver’s License Office
50 Commerce St
1 828-883-2070

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